Dee Bradley Baker's "All to Know About Going Pro in V.O."

Practice: from Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree”


“The Halloween Tree” is a marvelous Halloween poem from Mr. Bradbury. I find the following passage from chapter 16 of this novel particularly delicious and fun to read.

Here, a group of children have whistled to summon hoards of creatures and things to Notre Dame cathedral to be transformed into gargoyles:


The unemployed of all midnight Europe shivered in their stone sleep and came awake.

Which is to say that all the old beasts, all the old tales, all the old nightmares, all the old unused demons-put-by, and witches left in the lurch, quaked at the call, reared at the whistle, trembled at the summons, and in dustdevils of propulsion skimmed down the roads, flitted skies, buckshot through shaken trees, forded streams, swam rivers, pierced clouds, and arrived, arrived, arrived.

Which is still to say that all the dead statues and idols and semigods and demigods of Europe lying like a dreadful snow all about, abandoned, in ruins, gave a blink and start and came as salamanders on the road, or bats in skies or dingoes in the brush. They flew, they galloped, they skittered.

[…] obedient to summons, the mobs, the flocks, the prides, the crush, the collection, the raving flux of monsters, beasts, vices rampant, virtues gone sour, discarded saints, misguided prides, hollow pomps oozed, slid, suckered, pelted, ran bold and right up the sides of Notre-Dame. In a floodtide of nightmare, in a tidal wave of outcry and shamble they inundated the cathedral, to crust themselves on every pinion and upthrust stone.

So here ran pigs and there climbed Satan’s goats and yet another wall knew devils which recarved themselves along the way, dropped horns and grew new ones, shaved beards to sprout tendril earthworm mustaches.

Sometimes a swarm of only masks and faces scuttled up the walls and took the buttress heights, carried by an army of crayfish and wobbly-crotchety lobsters. Here came the heads of gorillas, full of sin and teeth. There came men’s heads with sausages in their mouths. Beyond danced the mask of a Fool upheld by a spider that knew ballet.

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